With a car, students can get almost anywhere from Rider with a short drive: restaurants, shops, the Jersey shore and big cities such as New York City and Philadelphia. Anything that a student needs, he or she can find with just a short trip. But that’s the problem with Rider’s Lawrenceville campus. More and more students are taking advantage of our location and bringing their cars to school. That would be fine, if we had the space. With parking lots for 11 different categories of people on campus, from Greeks to freshmen to commuters, it would seem like there is ample space for cars coming to Rider. But there is not.
In a school where the community is constantly growing, the current total of full-time undergraduate students is around 4,000. There are roughly 3,000 parking spots. That wouldn’t seem so bad if that number included everyone. But the 4,000 does not include the graduate students, part-time students, faculty, staff and visitors who come to Rider on a daily basis. It cannot be denied anymore: Rider University needs more parking spaces — or fewer cars.
Last year, in order to decrease the number of cars brought to campus, Rider began charging incoming freshmen $200 for the year in order to get a sticker that will allow them to park only in Z lot, a far walk from the residence halls. Z lot has only about 300 spots, so the crunch for freshman students with cars is very tight. It has been estimated that around 70 percent, or 600 freshmen, want to bring a car. While charging for parking has helped, this doesn’t decrease the number of others who bring their cars.
What Rider could do is look into developing its own method of transportation that would allow students to leave campus and enjoy what’s around them. Rider is not like other colleges that have their own small towns within walking distance, filled with shops and places to eat. Rider has tried with the diner, Cranberry’s and Starbucks, but it is just not enough. There is almost no way to buy non-food products that aren’t associated with Rider. Yes, Rider is more convenient than other schools because it is right off of several highways, but that makes it harder for students without cars to enjoy the places down those highways.
In order to save space, students should think about whether they really need a car, especially if they have friends going to school who they could share rides with. Four non-freshmen who know each other and have the same interests don’t need four cars among them; one or two cars will do. Not having a car also allows for easier transition to college life. Students won’t be tempted to go home after a long week just because his or her car is just a few minutes away. Maybe having fewer cars will somewhat shake the “suitcase school” reputation that Rider has. And maybe staff members would consider carpooling together, as well. Those that teach in the same building could make the trip in to work together in order to make more room for the students to park. Until then, everyone just needs to hope that they will be in the right place at the right time when they need to park their cars.
This weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News editorial board and is written by the Opinion Editor, Angelique Lee.